New report card results give insight to Wicomico County Public Schools
WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. – Maryland is unveiling a brand new public school rating system called Maryland Report Card. It’s part of the states response to the Every Student Succeeds Act, a plan that was approved earlier this year.
“It shows you both where the school is doing well, but it also shows you where there are opportunities for improvement,” explains Dr. Rick Briggs, Asst. Superintendent for Wicomico County Public Schools.
That’s what this new report card system rating Maryland’s public schools is all about, one that’s much more detailed than before. It’s a report that measures both school quality and success.
Briggs adds, “We think it gives a better overall picture of the quality of the schools with a lot more data that can foster school improvement.”
In Wicomico County, 12 of the 18 schools evaluated under this new system received a four star rating, the other six received three stars. School officials say they’re pleased with the results not necessarily because of they’re ratings, but because they have a better understanding of what they do well and where they need to improve.
And one area that needs work is student attendance.
“Attendance at the secondary schools, middle and high school is when we start to see student attendance back off.”
Wicomico High School rated a three star school is one place that’s experiencing low attendance rates, receiving only 3.5 points out of 15.
“Our major concerns are attendance and so making students are here everyday. That they’re coming in on time and that they’re not chronically absent. Any time we get students here then all of a sudden their test scores improve and they’re better in their classes,” explains WiHi Principal Don Brady.
That’s why schools like WiHi are hoping this report card will not only showcase the issues they’re facing inside the school for the staff, but parents and students too.
Brady says, “Right now parents just having a conversation with their son or daughter about being here and being here on time and being available to access their education would be awesome.”
But Wicomico County isn’t just focused on where they need to improve, they’re also focused on highlighting what they did well and strengthening those areas so that they can continue to be a positive force in the community.
“Obviously we’re striving for continuous improvement as we always have,” Briggs continues, “Hopefully with everyone working together we will see those percentages go up the ratings go up as well.”
Right now not every component of the report card is up and running, but that will change after year two. We’re told this will not affect school funding, but in the years to come the public will be able to see the state and county funds that are going into each school.
One note that’s important to mention is that not every Wicomico County public school will have a report card available. All primary schools like Beaver Run Elementary will not have one because standardized testing doesn’t begin until the third grade.